Subscribe to Minority Women's Health email updates.
Diabetes is a disease that causes blood sugar levels to be too high. Over time high blood sugar levels can hurt many parts of your body, such as your skin, mouth, kidneys, heart, nerves, eyes, and feet. It can even cause death.
Type 2 diabetes — the most common type of diabetes — is one of the biggest health challenges facing African-Americans, and especially African-American women. One in 4 African-American women older than 55 has diabetes. African-Americans also have high rates of at least two of diabetes' most serious complications: amputation (such as having a toe or foot removed) and kidney failure.
You can't control some risk factors for type 2 diabetes, such as your age, race, or family history. But you can prevent or delay developing type 2 diabetes by taking these steps:
You could have type 2 diabetes and not know it. Type 2 diabetes sometimes has no warning signs. Talk to your doctor about diabetes in your family. Get your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels checked regularly, as advised by your doctor. If you find out you have diabetes, you can take steps to manage the disease and live a full and active life. Making healthy eating and physical activity a regular part of your family life also will help to lower your loved ones' risk of diabetes.
There are other forms of diabetes:
Content last updated: May 18, 2010.